We are now working on our "Games Tigers Play" adventure, so this week's project will be to make a game. We are going to take our inspiration from a project my father used to build for us when I was a Cub Scout. He used hardwoods he had lying around his shop, ours won't be quite so fancy. We are going to make a wooden tic-tac-toe board that uses golf tees.
I waited until the last minute again, so in order to get Blue and Orange golf tees I had to make a trip to Golfsmith and deal with the length that they stock colors in, they're a little longer than I would have liked, and we'll get back to this later.
For the wood I was able to find a 5/4 in. x 4 in. x 8 ft. Select Pine Board at Home Depot, I then cut it into squares. It was a true 5/4" thick, but only 3 1/2" wide, so the squares were 3 1/2" x 3 1/2".
Next I set up the table saw to score the grid for the tic-tac-toe. I believe I had the fence at either 1 1/8" or 1 1/4" in order to end up with perfect squares once the edges were routed, we'll get to that next.
Once I had scored all the blocks I was ready to route the tops, and then round over the bottoms. If I were going to do this again I would reverse these steps. I ended up getting some tear out while routing because of all of the corners I now had after scoring them. If I had routed them first and then scored them this shouldn't be an issue.
Once routed and scored you end up with 9 nice squares. You can see the chipped corner in the picture below, hopefully reversing the routing and scoring steps will eliminate that.
Once they were all routed it was time to start drilling holes.
I made a template and marked each one, then drilled them on the drill press. Honestly once I was doing it I think that centering the hole on each square by eye would have yielded as good if not better results that marking it with the template. If I were going to do more of these, especially a large batch, I think I would make a jig for the drill press to line up the block for each hole. I sized the hole to fit the golf tee snug enough so they wouldn't fall out, this posed a problem I'll discuss later.
I drilled them all the way through, because I wanted the boys to have to do something other than just sand them at the meeting, plus I had to buy longer golf tees than I wanted so the extra depth wasn't an issue. I ripped down another piece of wood to 1/4" thick and cut 3" x 3" squares. I then drilled 4 small diameter holes to make it easier for the boys to nail them on.
Adding the 3x3 squares to the bottom with the edges rounded over creates a similar profile to the top.
The finished product with the TIger Cub colors.
All of the materials and supplies packed up and ready to head to the meeting.
So here are some things that we realized once we went to assemble them at the meeting. Not all golf tees are identical. While all of the orange ones seemed to be pretty uniform, some of the blue ones fit the holes and a lot of them didn't. I had sized the holes using an orange golf tee, it never occurred to me that golf tees might not all be a uniform diameter shaft, especially two bags of the same size from the same brand.
While we're on the topic of the golf tees, these were 2 3/4" long tees, that's all I could get in the colors locally. They are too long, they break fairly easily, especially when they get stuck and you're trying to pull them out. After comparing them, I determined that my father used to make his with 2 1/4" long tees, but they do make even shorter ones, they also make plastic ones, which I think would probably be more uniform in diameter.
In the hours of golf tee research I did following this project I actually found tees that I want to try for a future project. They're called step down tees and look like push pins, I think they'd work great for these projects. They seem to make them in plastic as well, but the color choices seem more limited.